Top 7 PBL News Stories

May 8-12, 2017


Each Friday we post a list of articles, blog posts, research studies, and other resources we’ve run across that relate to Project Based Learning.

Here’s what we liked this week:

6 Engaging End-of-Year Projects
To maintain secondary students’ engagement in school after testing time is done, Rebecca Alber suggests giving assignments that include “choices, creativity, and constructing” such as create a new ending for a favorite book, story, speech, or historical event; create video commercials about something the class decides on; or create a portfolio of their best work from the year, explaining their choices.

Why the 'Best' Public Schools Often Struggle With Deeper Learning
Learning Deeply blog, Education Week
“Advantaged public schools should be leaders in showing what is possible in a public setting,” asserts Jal Mehta in this post. However, this is prevented by a combination of external pressures to value “performance over learning” (think grades and high test scores) to internal barriers such as complacency, “teaching-as-transmission” views of learning, and traditions of classroom privacy for rock-star teachers that prevent principals from establishing a common vision for deeper learning (or PBL, I might add).

Green Bronx Machine – The Power of a Plant
This short video highlights the work of NYC teacher Stephen Ritz, who’s keynoted our PBL World conferences and received last year’s “PBL Champion” award. He’s just written a book with BIE National Faculty member Suzie Boss about how indoor farming projects transform the lives of his students.

The Original Maker Space
As a former English teacher, I love Laura Bradley’s well-written take: “Long before arts and crafts met DIY and merged with hacking to become today’s maker movement, and before computer labs and libraries were converted into design spaces, English teachers were quietly inspiring students to be designers and creators in the original makerspace: the writing classroom.”

Can K-12 Education Prepare Students For 'Jobs of the Future?'
Digital Education blog, Education Week
Sarah Schwartz reports on a Pew Research Center survey of technology and education experts in which some said schools should not focus on skills that can be replaced by machines like coding, computational thinking, and data analysis. Instead (enter PBL) they should emphasize 21st century skills and “emotional intelligence, empathy, compassion, and creative judgment.”

Building Culture by Building Practice
Shanghai American School
This school in China—where a member of our National Faculty, Andrew Miller is an instructional coach—has created a well-designed website with “discovery card” summaries and images of over 50 projects in grades 6-10. Nice work!

Let’s Put Creativity Back Into Math
Education Week Teacher
A 3rd grade teacher makes the case for more engaging math instruction with real-world problem-solving and student choice. (It’s an easy leap from here to PBL).


Follow us on social media: Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, InstagramYouTube and LinkedIn. For information about BIE professional development services click here.